NAS: Another Engagement?!

Random Google search
Oh engagements... they are a preeeeeetty common occurrence these days.  Especially being in your late 20s... holy moly. I feel like every time I look on Facebook "so-and-so is now engaged to so-and-so," even meeting someone random and finding out they were JUST engaged or, ya know, your distant cousin twice removed has got a new man!

I mean... whoa.

While I am so happy that people are finding their person, their "one"... it stings. Oh, it does.  Because every new engagement is a (albeit veryvery small) smack in the face that reminds me that I don't have that yet! I am not there yet!  I am still alone. And still very much single.

Blah.  And who wants to be reminded of that all the time???  If you say you do... then you are cray.

Here is the thing, though, I am still at the same time, genuinely happy for these people.  I really, truly am.  It's such an exciting time!  Happiness and celebrating are a must!

I find that when I am close/really good friends with someone who gets engaged, my immediate response is pure joy.  If it's someone that I don't know very well, or an acquaintance on FB, then I'm like, "really?!?!  AGAIN?! Come ooooooon!"

So, what's the difference??  I guess it's because your closest friends' dreams and desires become your dreams and desires.  When my close friends have super exciting news, I AM SO EXCITED right along with them.... and vice versa, when they are going through something painful, I hurt, too.  That may not be for everyone, but it's very much true for me.  I'm just one of those friends that's an all-in kinda person.

Wouldn't it be prudent of me to, then, be excited in general... right from the get-go?  It's way more fun to be excited!  I don't really like being all woe-is-me-ish.  Who likes those people?!

I guess what I have tried to do is say a little prayer for the couple that have just been engaged and move on.  Ignore all the pics on FB and wandering down the path of, ohmygosh, we are the same age, what about me?!  Or, I babysat her... how is SHE engaged before ME? Ya know?!  We all do it.  It's no fun.  For anyone.

So, here is to being happy for those friends/family you know that are engaged!  Pray for them, love them.  That is what they will need (no matter how close you are to them), instead of our projected feelings of frustration, sadness and jealousy.  Be patient and trust in the Lord's timing for YOUR wonderful engagement one day.  {saying this to myself, just as much as I am to you, ladies!}

Has it been hard for you hearing about all of these engagements?!  What do you do about it?


Head on over to Morgan's and get yo' link-up on!

Next Week:
Chastity: A Choice
Living chastely (not just abstinence) is a choice. Have you ever had to defend your choice to live out chastity? If not, why do you choose chastity?

February 11
If only I knew then what I know now...
What would you tell your former self about being single if given the chance? What have you learned that you wish you could tell your younger self?

ADDED: What would you ladies think about having a Facebook page/group for the Not Alone Series??  It could be another way to get the topics out, share our posts (if we want), ask for prayers requests, and connect with people that read along, but don't blog?! Plus, it would be a great way to get info out about Savannah!  What do you think?!  Please let Morgan and I know in the comments or email us!! 

A Week in Pics {200th post!!!!}

A little coffee and some rosary time with Papa Francisco!

I wore my non-discreet, discreet pro-life shirt to work on the day of the march.

We had make-shift baleadas (Honduran "delicacy") they other night...
I was rather nostalgic about it.

Proof that the babe DOES have hair! :)

Zuz and I had a date night... a sunset picnic

Never gets old. :) 
Chomping away.

And then a nice lady offered to take our pic as we were leaving.
I'm pretty sure she thought Zuzu was mine. ;)

Sometimes, when your goddaughter sits down in the parking lot
to read a book, you just have to be ok with it. :)

Silly goose.

Oh ya know... being cute while she eats some celery.

I attempted to make my own pumpkin spice latte this morning!
My mom got me the frother for Christmas!!

It was pretty good, you guys!!! :)

Zuz is just so silly these days. She loves to make faces and
make us laugh!! This is such a fun stage! :)
Many blessings for your upcoming week!!  Have any prayer requests, please let me know! I would be honored to pray for you.  I have two special intentions... would you pray for them?? Thank you!

Also... this is my 200th post!! WHAAAAAAT?!  I don't know how that happened!  I wish I had some sort of give away or something.  But, I am kind of lame in that regard.  Please know, though, I am so grateful to all of you who read this here bloggity and visit my corner of the interwebs. It really does mean the world to me.  I would love to know who is reading this!!

Leave a comment saying hi, maybe where you are from and how you found me!  Or something!! :)  Just a little celebrating by getting to know you a bit better!!

I Am Beautiful {A Poem}

Thanks to Laura over at Catholic Cravings for this AWESOME idea.  She wrote a poem this week for our Beauty post and encouraged us to do it, as well.  I am rewarding myself with a little blogging after cleaning the heck out of my bathroom.  If you had to clean what I just cleaned, you would be rewarding yourself, too.


I Am Beautiful

I am beautiful.

I am beautiful because I am made in the image of God who knows the desires of my heart. I am beautiful inside and out, for He didn't just make my soul but my body, too. All of me, body and soul, in His image.

I am beautiful because my smile is wide and joyful, my eyes are bright and changing: just as I hope to be joyful and bright!

And because I can wiggle my ears. :)

I was beautiful when I would hide in my room and put every single piece of play jewelry on that I owned.

I am beautiful because my face is full of pimples and scars and my stomach seems to just loooove holding on to a little extra fat.

I am beautiful like a perfect cup of coffee in Paray-le-Monial (an amazing, quaint little town in France) on a late Spring day.

I am beautiful when I smile.

I am beautiful when I receive Holy Communion and while praising/worshipping Him in Adoration.  I am beautiful when I laugh and when I mourn, and when I pray the Hail Mary, whispering "blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus" to Her who is so beautiful.

I am beautiful when I wear my twirling orange dress with a great pair of earrings!

I was beautiful even when I did not see it.  Even though I've cried when staring at my face, thinking how disgusting I am, I was beautiful.

I am beautiful still.

I don't know whether my eyes are doves behind my veil, or my hair like a flock of goats descending from Gilead. But in my own way, in my own Jen-way, I am beautiful. Perhaps, I am beautiful like a black and white photograph or like the setting sun over the ocean.

I am definitely not beautiful because I am perfect. I am not perfect, inwardly or outwardly. I have flaws enough.

But, I am beautiful.

For I am loved by God, and love is in my heart, and where there is love:

there is beauty.


*Just so you know... this was a much harder exercise than I was anticipating. To make yourself actively think that you are beautiful when you struggle so much with it is quite draining. But, I am so glad I did this. Thank you, Laura! Thank you for reminding me that I am indeed beautiful, no matter what. :)  I encourage you all to fill in the blanks, as well! :)

It is SHEENAZING...

... that YOU thought of ME!!! :)

[Edited to add: Um, I looked at WHAT category I was actually nominated for... and it's for "Best Link-up!!" The Not Alone Series isn't just mine to take credit for.  I can pretty much guarantee that Morgan would have the same reaction as I do below... so, give her some love, too!!  Ok??? OK!!]

Um, I woke up to an email from Bonnie @ A Knotted Life yesterday morning informing me that I was nominated for a Sheenazing Award!

WHAT?!

You guys.

I don't know who you are.... but I am honored that you thought of me amongst all of the gazillion bloggers out there.

I mean, seriously.

It really means so much.

Don't have a clue what I'm talking about?!  This is what Bonnie says,
The Sheenazing Blogger Awards are named for Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. Sheen was amazing at using the newest forms of media to communicate the beauty of the Catholic Church and his love of Christ to the world. I'm positive that Sheen would be a blogger were he alive today and that he is in Heaven, totally approving of this award.
Basically it's just a fun way to give a shout-out, hat tip and some love to your favorite blogs/bloggers! :)  Cool, huh?!  If you want... just head on over to Bonnie's and vote, too! :)  No pressure or anything... it's all just so fun!

PLUS!

I can proudly display the Sheenazing Award on my blog! HA! So exciting!



A humbled (and excited!) thank you!
Blessings to you!

#aeriereal Ad Campaign

You all know American Eagle Outfitters, right?!  I love them.  If I had endless amounts of money, I would buy the whole store (and give all my money away to those who actually need it, of course). I have loved it since I worked there in high school.  I am actually not their target demographic anymore and my body has changed quite a bit, so I don't buy a whole lot of their stuff, but I can still dream!

Did you know they have a whole lingerie line?!  Aerie?  They have the best underwear. Thee. best.  I love it. Ok, I'll stop.  This is a blog that anyone can read, and I suppose it's a little weird to talk about my undies. :)

Moving on.  Well, if you didn't also hear, Aerie launched their Spring 2014 campaign with "real woman" and no retouching of their photographs.


This is so awesome, right?!  Finally a mainstream company promoting women that aren't stick thin with no lines, wrinkles, pimples or anything.  Women that are beautiful, just as they are.

I was impressed with them before, and now... now I just want to buy ALL THE THINGS!

The only 2 qualms that I have with their campaign is the use of "real women" and being "sexy."

Let me tackle the "real women" thing first.  I feel "real women" is synonymous with larger women.  I realize that the average dress size is around a 12-14, so women who wear that size are "large" compared to the stick figures in the media.  But, let us not forget that "real women" are thin, too.  And, ya know, some of them are pretty darn skinny.  I just worry that it takes away from the beauty of all women, exactly how we are.

The women that are touched up in photos are made to me objects that are unattainable, but the models who originally had their pictures taken, are not objects by any means.  They are "real women" too.

And, second, I am a little uncomfortable with the tag line "the real you is sexy."  I get it.  I get what they are doing.  But, Aerie's target demographic is girls between the ages of 15-21.  Do you want your 15 year old daughter/granddaughter/niece/cousin to be thinking about being "sexy"?  I hope not.  I think they are a little young to be thinking in terms like that.

There is a time and place to be sexy.  In the bedroom.  When you are married.  Something to enjoy with your hubby.  By all means!  It's so important.  The real you IS sexy, don't let anyone tell you differently.  But, you don't need to be sexy all the time.  Especially when you are 15.

I would have appreciated this campaign more if they used the tag: "The real you is BEAUTIFUL/AWESOME/LOVELY/GORGEOUS/UNIQUE/etc."

It sets the tone a little differently.  But, Aerie still has to sell things.  And, well... sex will always sell, no matter what.  But it's a contradiction... we don't want young girls to be having sex BUT we want you to be sexy. Uh, do you see the dilemma?!

This is still such a huge step in the right direction!  I am proud of AE/Aerie for taking this leap.  Young (and not so young) girls need to see more unphotoshopped women.  The beauty they portray is actually attainable.  It's attainable because it's saying that you are beautiful JUST as you are.

What are your thoughts on the campaign??  Do you love it?!  I want to know!

NAS: Beauty

What does authentic beauty mean to you and how can you be better at believing/accepting that you are, in fact, beautiful?

Blah... I have not really wanted to write this post (and I'm the one who suggested it! Obviously a Holy Spirit thing up in here.).  Beauty is hard for me to talk and write about.  It's something that I have always struggled with.

I don't always think that I am beautiful.

I am going to write this as if I am talking to someone else... because we all know that it's easier to speak AND believe the Truth for others.  And then maybe, just maybe, I will be able to apply that to myself.

So! Beauty.  There are two images that come to mind when I think of beauty.... a very holy, devout, Catholic/Christian woman... and a thin, well-dressed woman, with long, voluminous hair, a gorgeous smile, that exudes confidence.

Both of these images are true. They do capture beautiful women, but they don't capture the WHOLE truth about what beauty really is.

I believe true, authentic beauty is being exactly who God has created you to be.

God is Beauty. He creates beautiful things.  It's so hard for us to see that... our culture is so superficial, the way we look has absolutely everything to do with how beautiful we are.

It's so sad. And so not true.  True, authentic beauty is deeper.  It doesn't just look at your dress size, how white your teeth are, how smooth your skin is.

It looks at how incredibly unique we were created by Beauty Himself.  God doesn't make mistakes.  Our beauty is a reflection of Him.  Each and every person, no matter what, reflects God in some way.  Our environments, the way we grow up, what we learn from the media, etc. may hide those reflections, making it harder to see.  But, if you look long enough or search deep enough, they are there.

Beauty is so much more than the way we look.  It's the way we behave.  It's the way we speak.  It's the way we handle ourselves in difficult situations.  It's the confidence we have in the way Our Lord created us, that gives us the grace to be exactly who we are meant to be.

And there is nothing more beautiful than being confident in the Lord.  Remember that He gave you that nose, those freckles, those few extra pounds, the pimples, your passion, your voice, your ability to love and your love of collecting stamps because that is how he created YOU to be beautiful.  And you alone.

How fitting that when I was writing this post, Made in His
Image tweeted this. :)
Trust in Him.  He is the most important person in your life.  He created you to be beautiful, so believe that you are!  Ha... I know that's easier said than done.  But, it doesn't make it any less true.

What does beauty mean to you?  I can't wait to read these.  I am in need of some encouragement in this area, so I am reeeeeally looking forward to your posts!

Keep Morgan, and everyone else going to the March for Life in DC this week, in your prayers!  Because she is busy with all that prep work, I am hosting again today!  So, link up below!

*Just a side note: we are open to ANYONE for this linkup. We are writing about singleness, mostly, but that doesn't mean we don't want to hear from you married ladies!  We always love your perspectives, too!*

Next Week
"Guess who's engaged?!"
Do you struggle with balancing the sting of hearing about yet another engagement with genuine excitement? What emotions come into play? What virtues do you enlist to help with it all?

February 4
Chastity: A Choice
Living chastely (not just abstinence) is a choice. Have you ever had to defend your choice to live out chastity? If not, why do you choose chastity?

February 11
If only I knew then what I know now...

What would you tell your former self about being single if given the chance? What have you learned that you wish you could tell your younger self?

A Week+ in Pics!

I quite enjoy looking back at my week (or more in this case) each Sunday.  I often look through the pics on my phone and remember little moments that I captured or 'grammed and actually forgot about.  These pics remind me of the little things that I am so grateful for, and how truly blessed I am.  

I hope you don't mind, either.  And, if you do... just don't tell me! :)  And move right on along.

My first night home after Christmas.
The many faces of the babe while she eats chocolate cake.

We've been having a 'cold' snap these days... and I really enjoy
wearing my warmer clothing. :)

I FINALLY received my package from Spain.  Which was great.
The bad news is that most of the pottery was broken.
I am still really bummed about that.

A little park action.

Remember that chill? Yea... it warranted actual winter-type
clothes to be worn.  And, to enjoy a morning Starbucks for the
first day back to school/work. 

Even Zuz was ready for the cold. ;)

How cute are these socks?!
Thanks, dad!

Sometimes, you just need a frosty and fry.

We went up to St. Augustine, FL for the March for Life...
and it was COLD! And the babe was ready.

St. Augustine is BEAUTIFUL!!  I can't wait to go back.
I also would show you pics of the march, but they have the teens we took,
and I don't have permission to put their pics up here. So! sorry about that.
I hope everyone has had a wonderful week AND a beautiful weekend.  If you have tomorrow off, ENJOY IT!  Do something fun! :)

Not Alone Series: WE ARE BACK!!!!

WELCOME BACK!!!!!

Hi everyone!! :)  Morgan and I are THRILLED to be back with you all again!  I hope that you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas with family and friends, and your new year has started off really well!

If you are new to the Not Alone Series... welcome!  Click here for all the deets and here to see previous posts and linkups.  But, basically we are single, Catholic ladies getting together to chat every week about anything and everything that pertains to our singleness, growing in holiness and loving our Lord. :)


This week we are talking about ways in which we can grow/stretch right now that will effect our entire year.  I wrote my goal post already, but one of my goals is one that I think will ultimately effect the whole of 2014... and that is: getting outside of my comfort zone.  Being intentional about getting out of my comfort zone by doing things that I wouldn't normally do and trying new things.

Even though it's scary and nerve racking and worrisome and makes you sweat, getting out of your comfort zone is super beneficial, as well.  You learn so much about yourself.... grooooow and streeeetch yourself in ways that you didn't think was possible.  Which, then, can only help with your relationships. With God. With family. With friends... and a future spouse.

So... that is my ultimate goal for the year.  I hope to achieve this by doing something new every month.  My first few ideas off the top of my head are: learn to paddleboard, take an art class, shoot a gun.  What other things?  What ideas do you have?

And in what ways are you going to grow and stretch this year?!  Let us know!

Thanks to those of you who gave us suggestions! As always, if you have something on your heart you want to discuss, please email Morgan or me! :)  Annnnnd, get your link up on below!


Next Week:
Beauty
What does authentic beauty mean to you and how can you be better at believing/accepting that you are, in fact, beautiful?

January 28
"Guess who's engaged?!"
Do you struggle with balancing the sting of hearing about yet another engagement with genuine excitement? What emotions come into play? What virtues do you enlist to help with it all?

February 4
Chastity: A Choice
Living chastely (not just abstinence) is a choice. Have you ever had to defend your choice to live out chastity? If not, why do you choose chastity?

February 11
If only I knew then what I know now...
What would you tell your former self about being single if given the chance? What have you learned that you wish you could tell your younger self?


NAS: REMINDER!

OH MY GOSH!!!

LADIES!!  Not Alone Series starts back up on TUESDAYYYYY!!!!! :)

That's right.

Tuesday, January 14!!!


It has been SO long!  I have missed you guys.  Eee! I can't wait to get back into the swing of things.  Ok, so... the topic for Tuesday is:

In what ways can you grow/stretch RIGHT NOW that could effect the whole of 2014?

I know so many of you have read and read (and even wrote) about goals/resolutions/words for the year, but it's always a good idea to take a step back and reflect on areas of improvement in our lives, right?!  This growing/stretching may be one of your goals for the year, and that's great! We want to hear about it!  What are some ways that you can love yourself more?  Be more confident about who you are RIGHT now?  Learn more about yourself?  Anything!

Ohhh... I can't wait to hear about it!  I will definitely be praying for you.

As always... WE NEED MORE TOPICS!!!  I know you guys have things you want to talk about!  We were gone for a while, something in your lives had to have sparked a moment of, "wow! This would make a great NAS post!"  WE WANT TO KNOW!!  :) :)

*Savannah Update*
Well, there isn't really much of an update at this moment.  Thank you everyone who has emailed us!  If you are still interested, please do so.  We will be fleshing some things out soon, and we will email you all. We promise. 

Don't know what I am talking about???  Please check this post out!

With that... I will see you Tuesday!
Abrazos y oraciones! 

The Catholic Girl's Survival Guide for the Single Years {A Book Review}

I picked up The Catholic Girl's Survival Guide for the Single Years** by Emily Stimpson at the Shrine the other day.  I had heard about it through the blog world a few times.  But, I just never thought to get.  Why?  I have no clue.



I am a girl.

I am Catholic.

I am single.

I am "surviving." (I mean... I would say I am wayyy more than surviving! But, go with it!)

This book screams: PERFECT FOR JEN!  So, when I saw it sitting on the shelf, I thought, let's give this a whirl.

I am SO glad I did!  If you are like me (a single, Catholic lady), you should most definitely read this book.  It's a fun, entertaining and easy read.  I found myself laughing at a few parts, nodding my head in agreement to others, and shouting (or just speaking out loud), "YES!" to many other spots.  I love when I can interact with a book this way. :)

The writing is awesome.  Basically, you will feel like you are in a comfy chair at Starbucks, enjoying a nice latte, having a conversation with Emily Stimpson.  It seems that she writes the way she would speak.  She is funny.  She is witty.  She is straight to the point.  She speaks the Truth.  She isn't trying to tell you HOW to live your life, but encourages you live your life always giving glory to God.

She is also honest.  Still being single herself, she knows that ache we feel all too well.  She's had (and still has I presume) the lows that we all have.  The frustrations of dating.  Being impatient.  Questioning God.

Yet somehow... she makes you feel like you aren't crazy!  We are in this together!  She is encouraging and optimistic, without being annoying. :)

While I didn't agree with every.single.thing she wrote, it didn't stop me from really enjoying this and gaining a lot of wisdom and insight.  And hearing the Truth over and over again.  Sometimes, that's all we need, really.  Our thick heads get in the way of what God is trying to tell us.

Because I am not very good at book reviews, I will leave you with a few quotes that I really enjoyed.

"Whatever you do, don't let wounds go uncared for. Don't let anyone walk away from you feeling unloved, unappreciated, and unimportant. Be an advocate for all who need one." (pg. 26)

"Nag God: He can take it." (pg. 27)  Ha, I laughed out loud to this. :) This is so true. Sometimes I feel like praying for something (ie my future hubby/marriage) over and over and over again becomes redundant.  But, really... if we truly believe He put the desire of marriage on our hearts, then we ought be praying for and talking to Him about it. Constantly.

"... if you're made for marriage, your work will not and cannot fill the space in your life that a husband is meant to fill." (pg. 84) BUT "following God's will in one area can't block God's will in another." (pg. 85)  She is talking about finding a career that you love, but realizing it shouldn't be your everything.  So now, being single, we have the best opportunity to do what we love!  If we think marriage is our thing, we can still do the things we want to do now (ie work abroad, start your own business, etc) if it's part of His will.  If you feel both of these things, marriage AND doing other things are in your plan, then they won't inhibit one another.  They can't.  It's just not possible.

Anyway... this book is busting at the seems with wonderful nuggets such as these. So, basically that means you have to read it.  Go ahead.  You won't be displeased.

*No one made me write a review, but I was politely asked by a few of you. :)
**This is an affiliate link... if you happen to buy this book through that link, I will get a wee bit in return. Thank you!

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!!

It's official... it's a whole new year! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

2014, baby! I can't believe it. Beyond.

I thought I'd share my last day of 2013 and look forward to what I hope for 2014.  I have never been good at setting (and keeping!) resolutions, but this year I really felt the urge to set some goals for myself.  Wait... getting ahead of myself, here.  Let's just start with yesterday, shall we??

I was able to visit the hospital that I used to work at in DC! I love love LOVE that place and really enjoy going back.  I don't always know many of the people that work on my old unit, but yesterday there were a TON! It was SO awesome.  It was fun to reminisce, catch up and  remember what it used to be like.  I will always have a special place in my heart for that hospital. It was my first job, where I learned how to be a good nurse and was inspired everyday by all the kids I worked with.  Every.single.job that I have will always compare to that place... for better or for worse, that's how it has been and always will be.  Maybe I will have the opportunity to work there again one day. :)

THEN! I went to the National Shrine. One of my absolute fave places in the entire world. It's breathtaking. If you are in DC you MUST... MUST go to the shrine. Seriously. I know DC can be tricky and annoying with the traffic and all that, but really, it's totally worth it.

One of the best views... when you turn the corner... there is the shrine! :) 
Just beautiful!

Eeee!
It was a bit windy.

So pretty with all the Christmas decorations!

Nativity 1

"I am the Immaculate Conception"
Our Lady of Lourdes chapel
There are chapels everywhere.

The Crypt Church is my fave fave. :)

Just amazing.


Nativity 2

Blessed Mother Theresa

I just can't get enough.
Isn't is wonderful?!  I was able to doing some praying and thinking and loving on the Lord. Great way to end a year, huh?  They have one of the best bookstores!  I was able to grab a couple:
I even found Miss Hallie Lord's book! :)
They also have a great gift shop. If you ever need gift ideas, check out their shop online, too!

I came home and dad, Connie and I enjoyed some champagne:

And reeeeally yummy cheese fondue:

Then played a rousing (read, looong) game of Scrabble, where I did not win and barely broke 100. I know, I am a total genius.

Then I barely made it to midnight, and was out very quickly after that! :) haha.  I am such an old lady now.  Oh, well. It was a wonderful day and a wonderful way to end 2013!

Now... onto 2014. As I was saying before, I really feel like I need some concrete goals this year.  I usually come up with a TON and then not complete them and feel like a failure. I'm sure you know all about that. We all have that at some point.  But, this year... this year I am feeling more motivated. I don't know what it is specifically, but I am rolling with it! A little extra Holy Spirit action up in here. :)

So, in no particular order, here is what I would like to do this year in 2014:

  • Train for and run a half marathon
  • Pray the Rosary every.single.day
  • Pray Liturgy of the Hours morning OR evening prayer every day
  • Help begin a women's group at my church (bible study/program)
  • Try something new every month (an art class, paddleboarding, shoot a gun, etc)
  • Get out of my comfort zone (hence the goal above)
  • Take more pictures with my nice camera
  • Above all, love the Lord with all my heart, strength and soul, and fall more in love with His church.
Hmm... will you help me?  Will you pray for me?  I so want to achieve these goal!  With a little push and whole lotta Grace, I know I can. :)

What are your goals for this year?  I would love to know!  I will be praying for you. :)
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